Each year, Mercedes-Benz sponsors a fashion film contest at the Bokeh International Film Festival in Cape Town, South Africa. Director Ashley Avis Winters and producer Edward Winters are regulars at the festival but had not planned to enter this year due to a conflict with the production schedule of their most recent feature. However, when Bokeh extended their submission deadline, Ashley gave me a call and we hit the ground running to shoot a two-and-a-half-minute Mercedes spot in a matter of days.
The producing team secured some great locations and an incredible crast: the beautiful Natalia Barulich and the suave Miklos Banyai. We discussed the tone and pace for the film, however, since there was no time to scout locations, a lot of the specifics were worked out on the fly. Steadicam operator Wael Shukha joined us for two half-days, allowing us to move efficiently through the more involved setups. Gaffer Chris Tonkovich and I devised minimalist solutions to light each sequence. Chris brought along a small assortment of battery-powered LEDs which we used to light most of the film including the night exteriors. We shot with an Arri Alexa Mini at 48fps, Zeiss Ultra Primes and a 1/8 Soft FX filter. Below are a few production stills describing some of the challenges we encountered and how were able to work through them.